The Life of Saint Francis by Thomas of Celano - 265 

his hand slipped, as often happens, and it chanced that he touched the precious scar in his right side. As soon as he had touched it, the holy one of God felt great pain and pushed Rufino’s hand away, crying out for the Lord to spare him. Gn 19:16

He hid those marks carefully from strangers, and concealed them cautiously from people close to him, so that even the brothers at his side and his most devoted followers for a long time did not know about them.

Although the servant and friend of the Most High saw himself adorned with such magnificent pearls, like precious stones, and marvelously decorated beyond the glory and honor of all others, still his heart did not grow vain. He did not seek to use this to make himself appealing to anyone in a desire for vainglory. Gal 1:10 Rather in every way possible he tried to hide these marks, so that human favor would not rob him of the grace given him.

96 He would never or rarely reveal his great secret to anyone. He feared that his special friends would reveal it to show their intimacy with him, as friends often do, and he would then lose some of the grace given to him. He always carried in his heart and often had on his lips the saying of the prophet: “I have hidden your words in my heart to avoid any sin against You.” Ps 119:11 [Vulgate, Ps 118:11]

Whenever some people of the world approached him and he did not wish to speak with them, he would give this sign to the brothers and sons staying with him: if he recited the verse mentioned above, immediately they would dismiss politely those who had gathered to see him. He had learned through experience that one cannot be a spiritual person unless one’s secrets are deeper and more numerous than what can be seen on the face and by their appearance can be judged in different ways by different people. 2 Cor 10:7 For he had met some people who agreed with him outwardly but inwardly disagreed, applauding him to his face but laughing behind his back. These brought judgment upon themselves and made honest people seem somewhat suspect to him. 1 Cor 11:29

So it is that malice often attempts to smear
sincerity and because of the lies of many,
the truth of the few is not believed. 2 Thes 2:11

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Vita Prima, Fontes Franciscani, p. 371-373


dilapsa est manus eius, ut saepe contingit, ad dextrum latus ipsius, et occurrit ei pretiosam illam tangere, cicatricem. 8Ad cuius tactum sanctus Dei non modicum doluit, et manum a se repellens, ut ei parceret Dominus acclamavit.

9Studiosissime namque abscondebat haec ab extraneis, celabat cautissime a propinquis, ita ut et collaterales fratres et eius devotissimi secutores haec per multum temporis ignorarent.

10Et licet tantis ac talibus margaritis tamquam pretiosissimis gemmis servus et amicus Altissimi se videret ornatum, atque supra omnium hominum gloriam et honorem mirifice decoratum, non evanuit tamen in corde suo, nec quaesivit inde alicui per appetitum vanae gloriae complacere h;11sed et ne humanus favor datam sibi gratiam furaretur, modis omnibus quibus poterat haec abscondere i satagebat.

96 1Mos etenim ipsius erat raro aut nulli praecipuum revelare secretum, timens specie praecipuae dilectionis ex eorum revelatione, sicut solent facere praedilecti, pati aliquod in data sibi gratia detrimentum.2Gerebat proinde semper in corde suo et in ore frequenter habebat propheticum illud: « In corde meo abscondi eloquia tua ut non peccem tibi ».

3Quoties vero ex saecularibus ad eum aliqui convenissent, ab eorum collocutione cupiens abstinere, fratribus et filiis qui secum morabantur tale dederat signum, ut cum videlicet praedictum versiculum recitaret, statim eis qui convenerant modeste licentiam exhiberent.4Expertus namque fuerat magnum fore malum cuncta communicare cunctis et spiritualem sciebat esse non posse, cuius secreta perfectiora et plura non sunt quam ea quae in facie videntur et ex apparentia possunt in unaquaque parte ab hominibus iudicari.5Invenerat enim aliquos sibi exterius concordantes et interius dissidentes, applaudentes coram, irridentes retro, qui iudicium sibi acquisierunt et rectos ei suspectos aliquantulum reddiderunt.

6Saepe namque malitia denigrare nititur puritatem,
et propter mendacium familiare multis,
paucorum non creditur veritati.

Francis of Assisi: Early Documents, vol. 1, p. 265

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